Friday, 17 May 2013

An eventful week back at work

One way and another this has been a really eventful week back at the County Council.

One of the first jobs for the Leader designate after the County Council elections is to allocate Members to our various committees and Chairmen as well. This takes time, particularly with a large in-take of new Councillors, as you have to try to match needs, skills and interests of Councillors to the various Committees.

On Tuesday we had our first Full Council meeting where a new Chairman of the Council, Amanda Jupp, and Vice-Chairman, Nigel Peters, were appointed. Although new to the role, both are experienced Councillors and totally committed, and will do an excellent job. I look forward to working with them and wish them both success and enjoyment in all their future duties.

I too was confirmed as Leader, for which I was truly honoured and delighted and will do my very best in my role. Then all appointments to Committees were confirmed. So now the Council is up and running again as a new administration.

Wednesday started really well with a letter from the Minister for Children and Families, Edward Timpson MP, confirming that after our recent Ofsted inspection he was removing the Notice to Improve for our Children's Safeguarding. Of course there is a lot more to be done but I was so heartened by the acknowledgement of what we have achieved so far and the suggestion that we share our work with others who are currently trying to improve their service.

Later that day I met with Bill Murphy, managing director Next Generation Access for BT, and key members of the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) team, where the contract for the provision of broadband roll-out across West Sussex was signed. A considerable amount of work and effort has been going on behind the scenes to get to this position. Now work starts on planning the roll-out to bring fibre broadband to around 98 percent of West Sussex homes and businesses within the next three years. You can find out more here.

On Thursday morning I met with the Adults’ Safeguarding Peer Review Team, who have been looking at our Adults’ Safeguarding within the County Council. It was a useful meeting where we went through their report looking at what we do well and what we need to do more on in the future. Children’s and Adults’ Safeguarding is at the top of our agenda, but we know we must never be complacent and there will always be work to improve, and this Peer Review has certainly helped.

With our Children's Safeguarding now no longer under Notice to Improve, the broadband roll-out now a reality, and positive comments on Adults’ Safeguarding it has been a very positive week.

Best wishes,

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